Friday, June 13, 2014

Day one of our journey went very smoothly.  We left home right on time and met Jack and Kathy on GA 20 on schedule and then drove a bit further where we met up with Steve and Madell, and Tim.  At this point we were 2 Midgets, an MGB Roadster and an MGBGT.  The drive then took us up thru Blue Ridge and then over McCaysville where we crossed the Ocoee River into Tennessee.  Along this route, it began to rain so in typical Jack fashion, we pulled into the first drive where there was a covered place to put up the tops - this was a Funeral Parlor.  The owner came out to welcome us, offer us the use of the facilities and even coffee.  Of course, by the time we started out again, the rain had stopped.

Perhaps the most beautiful part of the days drive was along the Ocoee River which was the site for some of the Olympic races in 1996.  The views were spectacular.  We watched the white water rafters along the river, the rapids and then a beautiful, serene lake that went on for miles.  The road led us into Cleveland, TN where we drove through town and then stopped for lunch at Aubry's.  The food was good, the conversation lively and then the rains came again.  With our windows open, we quickly ran out to close them or in my case, put them on.  When we left Cleveland, the rains were light and then heavy for about an hour.  The driving was challenging but we just kept going to Dayton and then on to Pikeville.  Fortunately the rains stopped shortly after Dayton and we enjoyed the beautiful ride up and down the mountains at our nice leisurely pace.  Pikeville provided us with a nice stop and walking around town where Kathy was able to check out the antique shops while Barbara and Madell stopped into a Quilt shop.  Guess what the guys did?

After about an hour wondering around town, Tim and Jack headed over the the City Hall so Tim could get the picture he needed for the Moss Motors challenge to see who could be in more towns and counties that started with the letters of the alphabet during the summer.  We then headed for Crossviille, TN where we are spending the night.

After a brief respite, we headed out to a local restaurant that was recommended by Carla at the front desk.  Forte's is a very nice Italian place with steaks, pastas, seafood and a variety of fish.  Now the normal reaction to an Italian place in a small town would be it will be OK.  Not Forte's.  It was marvelous and packed. The food was excellent.  We spoke to one of the owners and learned the family story about how they landed in Crossville.  After growing up with his immigrant Italian parents in the northeast, the son moved to Florida.  After attending a family wedding in NJ, he decided to take a leisurely drive through the country side on his way home.  On the way, he stopped in Crossville and fell in love with the town.  He went on to Florida where he packed his bags and returned to Crossvile to settle down.  A few years later his son and daughter-in-law came for a visit and also fell in love with the town.  A second son also came and the two brothers opened a restaurant with the family recipes.  We were fortunate to find it and enjoy the dining experience.

Now of course it is time for some sleep before another nice day in the MG's.

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